After three consecutive losses, the Boston Celtics bounce back to a win at home against Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night. The win was made all the more important by the fact that they were headed on a six-game road trip immediately afterward.
To begin said road trip, they traveled down south to board the Atlanta Hawksand despite multiple comeback attempts by Trae Young and his squad, the Celtics pulled away a success.
“Staying kind of poised and then just continuing to execute, and continuing to make plays,” Celtics big man Al Horford explained. “We went through quite a bit. Obviously, some games there we just gave away games, and we lost a little bit. I feel like the last couple, we’ve come a long way from exploiting assets and, good or bad, moving on. And I felt like we did that again tonight.”
Throughout their losing streak, the Celtics have blown three double-digit leads. They went up 28 points against Brooklyn Nets14 points against New York Knicksand 15 points against Cleveland Cavaliers. But in every game, they let their opponent get back into it.
But against the Hawks, they stopped those attempts, despite Atlanta giving their best effort to keep everything going. Boston went up by 16 points in the first half, but in the second half, the Hawks cut the lead to just five points.
“Just go back to what we have to do, huh? We know the level we have to play at,” Jayson Tatum said post-game. “How connected we should be, and that’s not going to be perfect. This is a running game. We knew they were going to run, but what we did today was respond, unlike what we did in the three games we lost.
The Celtics made a lot of mistakes. There were silly fouls, unnecessary fights, and a lot of defensive lapses. Atlanta has made the same kind of runs that Boston’s opponents have made in their three-game losing streak. But this time, the Celtics weathered the storm.
It’s far from perfect, but it’s progress. After failing in the same way for three straight games, the same scenario was thrown in their face. And instead of wilting under the pressure, they answered the call.
With how the Celtics are positioned in the standings, there is always a target on their back. But instead of focusing on how their opponents are playing, Boston’s focus needs to be internal.
“I feel like we get the best shot of most teams every night,” Horford said. “And for us, it’s continuing to do the things that make us beautiful. And that – we’ve got to do a really good job defensively, offensively, we’ve got to play with good speed, and we’ve got to limit those turnovers. And I think doing that, puts us in a good position to win games.